Family of Sarasota Man Poised to File Suit Over Key West Speedboat Death

122834_speed_boat_on_lake%20sxchu%20wesbite.jpgThe family of a Sarasota offshore speedboat racer killed during the Super Boat International World Championships in Key West last November is poised to file a wrongful death lawsuit against Super Boat International Productions, Inc. 59-year-old Joey Gratton purportedly drowned after his boat flipped over twice during a Key West race. His family claims Gratton survived the crash, but drowned due to a poor emergency response on the part of race organizers. Gratton’s death followed closely behind that of two Missouri men killed two days earlier when their boat crashed on the first day of racing.

Gratton was an experienced speedboat racer who, together with a close friend, won three world championships and eight national championships over the course of several years. According to reports, Gratton was not severely injured in the crash, but was instead alive, conscious, and fighting for several minutes to extricate himself from restraints. He is alleged to have drowned while waiting to be assisted by rescue boats. Instead of deploying immediately, rescue divers on an emergency helicopter were purportedly told by race organizers to act as second responders. The Miami-Dade Medical Examiner has stated Gratton’s official cause of death was drowning.

According to the Gratton’s attorney, the family will file a wrongful death lawsuit alleging gross negligence in Super Boat International’s safety and rescue response. He has stated race day rescue boat staff was not competently or adequately trained to act as first responders. He also claims divers were improperly told to allow rescue boats to act first, which wasted valuable response time. The family’s attorney claims Gratton would be alive today but for the company’s negligence. Gratton’s family has stated their overall goal in filing a lawsuit is to change Super Boat International’s emergency response measures to ensure the safety of other speedboat racers.

Many deaths in Florida each year are the result of tragic and unnecessary accidents. The unexpected loss of a loved one can be devastating, but it can be particularly upsetting when your loss is the result of another person’s negligence. When someone you love has been killed as a result of someone else’s actions, you have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the party at fault. Generally, a fatal accident which is the result of an act of negligence, carelessness, or recklessness will give rise to a wrongful death claim. In Florida, family members have up to two years to sue for wrongful death. If you have lost a family member due to a third party’s negligence, an experienced personal injury lawyer can answer your questions and help you file a wrongful death claim.

Although no amount of money can make up for the loss of your loved one, filing a wrongful death claim may allow you to hold the liable party accountable for their actions. At Lazarus & Lazarus, P.A., our Orlando wrongful death attorneys understand the pain and anguish which accompanies the death of a loved one. Our knowledgeable and experienced personal injury lawyers will assist you in obtaining the compensation you deserve to help relieve some of your financial burden. The law firm of Lazarus & Lazarus represents clients throughout Florida including Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Weston, Dade County, Palm Beach County, and Broward County. To schedule your free initial consultation, call Lazarus & Lazarus today at (954) 356-0006 or contact the firm through our website.

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Additional Resources:

Family of powerboat racer to file wrongful death lawsuit,
Gratton Family to File Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against Super Boat International, by Matt Trulio,
Questions surround death of speedboat racer and Naples native Joey Gratton, by Scott Clair,